When freelancers found themselves in a crunch last year due to the pandemic, they knew they needed to find work somehow. Enter Fiverr, a marketplace that connects businesses with freelance workers offering digital services in over 500 categories. From fashion design to illustration and music production, Fiverr’s mission is to change how the world works together, especially when people are doing it remotely more than ever before.
One freelancer on the platform we’re highlighting is emcee, musician, and voice actor Uni V. Sol. He first joined the platform five years ago, recording DJ drops for tracks, and has since amassed a long list of notable clientele, including AT&T, Nike, and Pepsi, to name a few. “I feel like my 20+ years of recording, releasing, and performing my own music set me up for a lot of success in this career and on Fiverr,” he tells Highsnobiety.
Some of the services Uni V. Sol offers are EDM rap vocals and hip-hop songwriting, but he also specializes in conversational, inspirational, motivational, and urban male vocals. We connected with Uni V. Sol to learn more about his voiceover work, music background, and how he found success on Fiverr during the pandemic.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us about what you do?
My name is Uni V. Sol. I’m an emcee, music artist, voice actor and entrepreneur.
How did you get your start in voice acting and when did you decide it was going to be a career?
I got my start on Fiverr in January of 2016, recording DJ Drops. After some time, customers that would order DJ Drops from me started asking if I could record their skits and rap their lyrics. As a hip-hop artist, I already had that type of experience, so I took those jobs which eventually led to my first official voice-over gig for Title Boxing.
Did you have professional training?
While I don’t have professional training, I feel like my 20+ years of recording, releasing, and performing my own music set me up for a lot of success in this career and on Fiverr. I’ve obviously learned a lot throughout these 20 years and my personal opinion is that for certain styles of music, you don’t need training. Music is a creative outlet and I’m not limited by what training or a course has taught me.
Tell us about the relationship between your voice work and musical work; how did those two intertwine?
Voiceover is essentially recording, so for me, I treat it just like making a record. You perform scripts the same way you would sing lyrics, adding your own emotion, style, and pace to it. In both cases, you need to give a strong “performance” to get your message across. The only difference with voice-over is it’s less rhythm and more acting/talking. When I first started doing DJ drops, I had a buyer ask me if I could rap their marketing policies to Salt -n- Pepa’s “Push It’, which was super interesting. That was just the beginning of the voice-over and music work intertwining.
Then there was this project for a law firm where I recorded the VO and the buyer asked for music afterward, so I produced it. I’ve also had a dance company ask me to hype up their dancers and produce original music. Sometimes the voice-over work would also turn more into a jingle, so it’s like I’m making a beat and providing a catchy hook to highlight a brand I’m working with. There are so many instances where the lines are blurred between voice-over and musical work. I just listen to my buyers’ needs and if I know I can use my expertise to give them something great, I’m going to do it.
You’ve seen huge success on Fiverr over the years, how has your clientele and business evolved since you joined the platform?
My business has evolved tremendously over the last 5 years to the point where people actually seek me out because someone has recommended me to them. Sometimes they’ll even reference a specific piece of work that they want to record a similar style for, and low and behold, their example is my voice. This wasn’t always the case. When I first started doing VO and music on Fiverr, I would push myself to pitch 10 people a day on the platform. It’s just like any other job or career.
You have to work really hard in the beginning, you have to build a reputation, gain experience, knowledge, and credibility and once you do that, the work just comes to you. Nowadays, I don’t have to pitch for business at all because the work just comes to me. That’s also the beauty of the Fiverr platform. Once you establish yourself on the marketplace, the work just comes, you don’t have to spend money marketing yourself or time pitching yourself. You get to focus on what you truly love and for me, that’s the music.
What was it like before joining Fiverr?
Honestly, it was frustrating. I was like most independent artists, struggling to make ends meet, trying to work a full-time job, take care of my family, and pursue a music career. I was actually a buyer on Fiverr first for three years because it helped me cut down my marketing cost as an independent artist/record label.
Who are your typical clients?
Nowadays a lot more businesses, like marketing and advertising agencies, indie filmmakers and video production companies, record labels, producers and DJs, plus entrepreneurs that are looking for high-quality work. Some of the big brands I’ve worked with include AT&T, Nike, Pepsi, New York City’s Mayor Office, Toronto Raptors, Spinnin’ Records, Pioneer, Remy Martin and more.
Walk us through a few of your most popular services, particularly recording EDM rap vocals. What’s that process like?
By far, my most popular service on Fiverr is Urban Voice-Over. That opens the doors to everything else, including the EDM rap vocals gig. I opened the EDM rap vocal gig as a basic rap gig first because I would get buyers asking if I could rap. I have so many songs and videos, I figure why not showcase it, so buyers no longer have to ask. They’ll see/hear the demo reel and know this guy can rap. It morphed into EDM Rap vocals because I started getting a lot of requests to write and record in genres like Hardstyle, House, Trap… so I just leaned into it. It's interesting because someone will buy a certain style of music drop and then because they’re happy with the outcome, they come back and ask if you can do something else for them, but do it in a different style - I’ve taught myself so many new genres of music in order to provide the best possible service for customers, and it’s opened my eyes a ton.
What are some of the most memorable or challenging gigs you’ve worked on, and why?
The first 10 gigs were the most challenging. Getting those first 10 sales took a while. The most memorable would probably be the promo for Toronto Sports Network’s Grey Cup Championship. Up until that point, my customers had, to a certain extent, let me do my own thing. But for this particular order, they had very specific instructions and clear directions about how they wanted it, and I needed to follow everything super closely. It took me a while to complete it, but in the end, I did it and the client was happy. But through this experience, I also learned that I need to value my time and my skills more, and afterward, I raised my prices accordingly.
How did your work/business evolve over the last (pandemic) year, and where do you see your freelance career going?
I’m super grateful since I know 2020 was such a terrible year for so many, but to be honest, for me, the pandemic led me to my biggest year in sales to date. I worked a lot, don’t get me wrong, sometimes recording 10 projects in a day. That said, the influx of work forced me to streamline my processes and helped me work smarter, not harder. To date, I’ve made over $250K and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Where do I see my career going? I’m just trying to dig deeper into acting and start putting out my own music as well. I think the more of my own work I put out in combination with serving my buyers, my freelance career will keep growing. The whole thing is to not be complacent. The sky's the limit!
What is one thing you would like to tell someone who is starting out on Fiverr or looking to pursue their dream or passion project?
I tell people all the time, just do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Put yourself out there, if something’s not working make tweaks. Adjust to the marketplace. See what people need and if you can fill that void, do it. Also, be open to new opportunities. I had no way of telling I would be in voice-over, but if I didn’t leave myself open for opportunities, it probably would’ve never happened.